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Iraqi Governing Council Names Cabinet - 2003-09-01

The Iraqi Governing Council has announced a cabinet of 25 ministers. The provisional authorities hope the cabinet will speed up the process through which Iraqis assume more responsibilities for governing the country.

The cabinet is divided along ethnic and sectarian lines, much like the Governing Council itself.

Shi'ite Muslims, who make up about 60 percent of the Iraqi population, hold 13 ministerial posts, including Oil, Interior and Trade. Sunni Muslims hold five ministries, including Finance, and Labor.

Kurdish leaders also hold five ministries, including Foreign Affairs, while Turkomen and Christians received one ministry each.

The cabinet does not have ministries of defense or information. The chairman of the rotating Governing Council will act as prime minister. The leader of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi, took over the chairmanship on Monday.

The cabinet announcement was reportedly delayed by Friday's bomb attack in Najaf that killed Shi'ite leader Ayatollah Mohamed Baqer al-Hakim and more than 80 followers. The cleric's coffin has been touring Baghdad and Karbala before being buried in Najaf on Tuesday.